Livingston clawed their way through to the Semi-Final of the Ramsdens Cup thanks to an outstanding performance by youth graduate Stefan Scougall. A goal scored and one created by the young midfield maestro cancelled out Kevin McDonald’s distinctive goal.
The Lions began brightly with Iain Russell having a shot well saved for a corner by Berwick Rangers keeper Jamie Barclay. The home side responded quickly with three chances in quick succession. Jonathon Brown’s attempts to prevent a cross going goalwards, almost resulted in a spectacular own goal. The Shiefield Park side then had to chances saved by Andy McNeil.
Livi striker Rory Boulding should have opened the scoring after finding himself in yards of space with the keeper away from the goal. However, he waited too long to cross and the home side successfully cleared.
Livi midfielder Stefan Scougall opened the scoring 12mins into the game. Iain Russell latched on to a well controlled Bobby Barr pass and released the ball to Scougall who powerfully and low into the back of the net.
Russell then had the first of many misses, hitting air when just 6 yards away from the goal. Bobby Barr followed this up with a well placed cross but no one was there to receive it. Russell managed to fluff a chance after a clever back heel by Barr. Just a minute later Barr shot just over from 20 yards.
The Livi chances kept on coming, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Iain Russell shot wide from a great chance before Cammy MacDonald almost gave away a penalty, fouling the attacker on the edge of the area and earning himself a booking in the process.
Talbot came close to doubling the scoring in added time of the first half seeing a long range shot going just wide.
The second half began slower than the first and it wasn’t until the 52nd minute that the first chance happened. Iain Russell shot agonisingly wide after running onto a great long ball from McNeil.
Moments later, Kevin McDonald scored directly from a corner (50mins). His excellent strike managed to evade the Livi defence and keeper, and crossed the goal line before being cleared.
Livingston then had a penalty claim of their own turned down. Iain Russell was felled by Jamie Barclay as he advanced on goal, but the referee waved away the appeals.
Russell then had a chance just deflected into the keeper’s hands before Deuchar missed a Keaghan Jacobs cross.
The chances poured in but still the Lions couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net. Russell had three chances in quick succession. For the first chance Scougall slotted a pass through the defence but Russell managed to shoot wide from close range. He then shot wide after cutting by the defence. He followed up by heading wide from a Bobby Barr cross.
It seemed the game was heading for extra time as Russell missed yet another chance with just 8mins to go, a close range shot being held by the keeper after Beanie cut in on a bad pass back.
But the goal finally came with 5 mins left to play. Scougall brilliantly controlled a ball on the line, preventing it from going out for a goal kick before passing back to Russell who slotted it into the back of the net.
So the Lions squeezed into the Semi-final, the score could have been much higher if the team had managed to put away more of their chances. There were positives particularly another superb performance by youngster Stefan Scougall and a comfortable return to the starting line-up by Cammy MacDonald.
Berwick Rangers: Barclay, Townsley, McLeod, Thompson, Currie, Notman, McLaren, McDonald, Greenhill (Pontin 73), Noble, Gray (Gribben 80)
Subs not used: Gall, Smith, McLean
Livingston: McNeil, Brown, MacDonald, Watson, Talbot, Sinclair, Kn.Jacobs, Scougall (Fox 88), B.Barr, Boulding (Deuchar 55), Russell
Subs not used: Jamieson, Ky.Jacobs, McNulty
Ref: J Beaton
Match report by Chris Naismith